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Washtenaw Officials Looking For Location For Winter Warming Center For Homeless Community

Washtenaw Housing Alliance

It's still summer but some in Washtenaw County are already looking ahead to the challenges winter poses for the homeless community.  The Washtenaw Housing Alliance and the county's Office of Community and Economic Development are trying to find a location suitable to serve as a warming center for homeless people.
Last winter's harsh weather caused by the polar vortex led to a spike in homeless individuals seeking overnight shelter. Amanda Carlisle from the Washtenaw Housing Alliance says for much of the winter the DelonisHomeless Shelter operated over-capacity to ensure nobody was left out in the cold.

Carlisle is looking for space in a church or other facility that could be used for 50 people to sleep on mats overnight. It needs to be about 1500 square feet and would ideally be located in the Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti corridor or near  public transit. "It makes it a little bit more difficult when we're out in kind of a rural area to get people, you know, there and back and to the resources that are needed to help folks who are homeless, but we're really trying to, you know, look anywhere that's available," Carlisle says.

Carlisle also hopes to find a location for a daytime warming center.

She says the space might sit empty if this winter isn't as harsh, but they want to be better prepared to meet the needs of the area's homeless this year. The warming center likely will be open from January to the end of March.

Like 89.1 WEMU on Facebook and follow us on Twitter— Andrew Cluley is the Ann Arbor beat reporter, and anchor for 89.1 WEMU News. Contact him at 734.487.3363 or email him acluley@emich.edu. 

Like many, I first came to this area when I started school at the University of Michigan, then fell in love with the community and haven’t left. After graduating from U of M in the mid 1990’s I interned at WDET for several years, while also working a variety of jobs in Ann Arbor. Then in 1999 I joined the WEMU news team.
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